Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung has said that Abuja may host the 19th National Sports Festival, following uncertainty over the readiness of Cross River to host the event.
A statement issued in Abuja by Nneka Anibueze, the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media, said Cross River State government was not forthcoming with a date for the event.
According to the statement, the Main Organizing Committee for the festival is asking the ministry for N650 million to host the festival.
“We conveyed the National Council for Sports in Calabar and made several inspection tours of facilities to ensure that we hold the event this year.
“But it does appear to us in the ministry that we might be going back to Plan B.
“Our plan B is that, if Cross River state cannot host the event, we will come back to Abuja and host the National Sports Festival.
“We are determined because without the National Sports Festival, we cannot enrich the talents’ profile of our athletes for national and international competitions.
“We have succeeded in hosting the National Youth Games against all odds and we will go back to our plan B if Cross River state relocates the burden of funding the games to the ministry.
“They have insisted that we provide as much as N650m for them to host the festival; if we had N650m, then why do we have to go to Calabar?” the statement quoted Dalung as asking.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the festival, designed to hold biennially to discover talents for international and continental competitions, has suffered many postponements in the past.
It was last held in Lagos in 2012 and has witnessed several postponements by proposed host states.